What do they do?

Research and study the structures and chemical properties of various natural and synthetic or composite materials, including metals, alloys, rubber, ceramics, semiconductors, polymers, and glass. Determine ways to strengthen or combine materials or develop new materials with new or specific properties for use in a variety of products and applications. Includes glass scientists, ceramic scientists, metallurgical scientists, and polymer scientists.

Also known as:

Materials Scientist, Micro Electrical/Mechanical Systems Device Scientist (MEMS Device Scientist), Polymer Materials Consultant, Research and Development Scientist (R and D Scientist), Research Scientist, Scientist

Typical Wages

Projected Growth Rate

Employment of Materials Scientists is projected to grow 7 percent from 2020 to 2030, about as fast as average compared to all occupations.

Projected Employment in VA

No Data Available
  • 7.7%

    Change

    Ranks #17 in job growth rate
    10

    Job Openings

    Ranks #32 in net job growth

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Education Level

Percent of workers in this field with these degrees:

  • Doctorate or Professional Degree  (21%)
  • Master's degree  (22%)
  • Bachelor's degree  (51%)
  • Associate's degree  (2%)
  • Some college, no degree  (2%)
  • High school diploma equivalent  (2%)
  • Less than high school diploma  (<1%)

Typical College Majors

Most Popular Majors that prepare Materials Scientists

Select Type of Degree:

  • #1
    • Degrees Granted

      228
    • Female Students

      63
    • Male Students

      165
    • Median Starting Salary

      $65,800
  • #2
    • Degrees Granted

      13
    • Female Students

      4
    • Male Students

      9
    • Median Starting Salary

      $65,800
  • #3
    • Degrees Granted

      11
    • Female Students

      3
    • Male Students

      8
    • Median Starting Salary

      $65,800

People in this career often have these skills:

  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
  • Science - Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Active Learning - Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
  • Complex Problem Solving - Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
  • Judgment and Decision Making - Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
  • Mathematics - Using mathematics to solve problems.
  • Monitoring - Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.

People in this career often know a lot about:

  • Engineering and Technology - Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
  • Chemistry - Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.
  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • Physics - Knowledge and prediction of physical principles, laws, their interrelationships, and applications to understanding fluid, material, and atmospheric dynamics, and mechanical, electrical, atomic and sub-atomic structures and processes.
  • Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Design - Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
  • Production and Processing - Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
  • Education and Training - Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.

People in this career often have talent in:

  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Written Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
  • Inductive Reasoning - The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Problem Sensitivity - The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
  • Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Information Ordering - The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
  • Category Flexibility - The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
  • Near Vision - The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • Mathematical Reasoning - The ability to choose the right mathematical methods or formulas to solve a problem.

People in this career often do these activities:

  • Conduct research to gain information about products or processes.
  • Develop new or advanced products or production methods.
  • Design research studies to obtain scientific information.
  • Devise research or testing protocols.
  • Prepare scientific or technical reports or presentations.
  • Develop theories or models of physical phenomena.
  • Advise others on the development or use of new technologies.
  • Test quality of materials or finished products.
  • Write articles, books or other original materials in area of expertise.
  • Confer with clients to exchange information.
  • Monitor operational procedures in technical environments to ensure conformance to standards.
  • Instruct college students in physical or life sciences.
  • Collect information from people through observation, interviews, or surveys.

This page includes data from:

O*NET OnLine Career data: O*NET 28.1 Database by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (“USDOL/ETA”). Used under the CC BY 4.0 license. O*NET® is a trademark of USDOL/ETA

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Logo Occupation statistics: USDOL U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment Statistics

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